Facebook's new Dating Service has People Questioning about its Safety!

One of Facebook’s most recent announcements was regarding the in-app dating service that is being rolled out across the US. The announcement has led to a lot of questions and concerns.

Facebook Dating can be accessed from within the main Facebook app but first, users would be asked to create separate dating-oriented profile. Once the profile is created, the user will be matched with people based on different factors such as location, preferences, groups etc. Additionally, the service will join forces with Instagram and provide a Secret Crush feature, through which users would be able to prepare a list of friends they are interested in and if their crush has listed them as well, it would be a MATCH!

For the service, Facebook has hyped new privacy and security features that would allow users to share their plans and locations with specific friends and hide their dating profiles from friends of friends in order to hide sensitive information.

Still, many are not ready to trust Facebook’s privacy and security claims regarding the new service, due to the company’s previous privacy scandals. According to digital strategist Jason Kelly, Facebook has a terrible track record of safeguarding user data. Various experts say that if Facebook can’t be trusted with a user’s phone number, it can’t be trusted with protecting the identity of their secret crush.

What makes matters worse is that Facebook Dating was unveiled merely days after the company confessed about exposing over 419 million user IDs and phone number online. Additionally, 14 million users had their private posts made public due to a glitch back in June and 50 million users had their data compromised last September. Topping all of these scandals is the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.

According to Jason Kelley, the phone numbers that were exposed recently were collected with the help of a tool that was supposed to be disabled by Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Kelley added that although Facebook is claiming that the dating service is secure, there’s a fair chance that the company will realize in the coming years that additional work could have been done to further secure it.

Kelley and other privacy advocates are worried about Facebook collecting more information about users based on their dating profiles and using that information to attract the attention of advertisers (as it has done in the past).

According to Facebook, users’ dating profiles will not be connected with their Facebook activity and thus, will not be used for ad targeting. However, Mark Weinstein (founder of the social network MeWe) has his doubts. He said that Facebook’s promises regarding data privacy shouldn’t be believed and that the new Dating service will be used by the company to gather more information about a user’s personal interests.

It should also be noted that last year, the number of romance scams reported to FTC were over 21,000 (nearly 3 times than 2015’s count). The collective loss was around $143m. Facebook has close to 221 million US users and through the new service, the company could be risking those users into getting scammed.

To prevent any such mishap, the social media giant has rendered users unable to share links, photos or payments through messages. Still, privacy advocates aren’t content with Facebook’s efforts due to the risks associated with the service and they suggest other apps or real life interactions as means of finding love interests.

Kelley said that it would be a desperation move on users’ part to allow Facebook to gather any more information on them after knowing about the company’s history of scandals.

Read next: Facebook Voices Concerns Regarding Users Transferring Data to Other Platforms!
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